Track and Field Kicks off 2009

After a week of preseason training, the Colgate men’s track team opened its 2009 season at the Army Quad on Saturday, January 17 in West Point. It was a promising start to the season for the Raiders, who finished third out of four teams in a meet that featured much larger schools such as Army, UConn and Binghamton.

Though Colgate begins its season without junior Lyle Tolli, the team’s top runner and reigning Male Patriot League Track Athlete of the year, a promising group of first-years headlined by sprinters Alex Coco and Graham Tooker look to make up for Tolli’s void. In the Army Quad, Tooker clocked a 23.31 in the 200-meter dash to finish in third place. Coco made his college debut in the 60-meter hurdles and finished fifth overall with a time of 8.84.

Senior sprinter Mike Walden crossed the finish line in 7.28 in the 60-meter dash to finish in sixth place, and was just .31 seconds behind Tooker in the 200-meter dash, fininshing eighth in 23.62. Other highlights from the Army Quad include sophomore Ed Sheridan’s fourth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run, sophomore Danny Schwaibold’s fourth-place finish in the 500-meter dash and the team’s victory in the 4×800-mter relay. Sophomore Tom Cuppernull was the lone competitor in the field events, and his long jump mark of 6.23 meters was good for fifth place.

Though the Raiders turned in a solid performance in their first meet of the season, it was not a good indicator because the team was physically spent from an arduous week of preseason.

“The Army meet was a more of a training meet, we were all pretty worn out from preseason,” Tooker said. “For next weekend, and then the Class of ’32, we should be ready and prepared.”

Colgate, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the Patriot League Championship, looks to finish in the top 3 this season, but will have to overcome perennial powerhouses Army, Navy and Bucknell to do so.

The Colgate women’s track team looks improve on its seventh-place finish in the Patriot League a year ago, and with senior sprinter Curry Knox, the ECAC Track and Field Runner of the Week, leading the way, the Raiders are primed to surprise their competition when the league championship roles around on February 21 and 22.

Knox broke two school records in the 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles to lead the Raiders at the Syracuse Welcome Back Meet on Friday, January 16. She started the day by clocking a personal-best 7.24 in the 55-meter dash to finish third in her heat behind Flings Owusu-Agyapong and Lareea Chisholm of Syracuse, and later broke her own record in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8:42 in the preliminary round.

“She’s incredibly important to the team,” first-year sprinter Ali Atkin said. “She always seems to be able to come out and break more records, and she’s a senior so she’s a leader on the team.”

Knox also ran the 200-meter dash in 26:20 to finish in second. Sophomore Michele Miller took fourth with a time of 26.83 and senior Ashley Mecone placed sixth with a time of 27.86. Miller grabbed second place in the 500-meter dash, improving .09 seconds off her preliminary time to finish with a 1:19.12.

Junior Sarah Chabal had a strong day for the Raiders, clocking a 1:04.04 in the 400-meter dash to finish second overall. Distance runners Chelsea Burns and Jessical Kielty finished less than a second apart to grab fourth and fifth place in the 3,000-meter run.

Though the Patriot League Championships are less than a month away, Atkinson and the Raiders aren’t getting too caught up with the future. “We haven’t really looked down the road yet,” Atkinson said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time.”